While no experience is required to become a housekeeper for the Queen, they are required to have one thing… strong attention to detail. And, while just about anyone can boast that skill on their CV, the Queen has a very clever trick she uses to weed out the stronger applicants.
The Queen’s secret housekeeping test
In order for applicants to pass the interview with Tracey Waterman, the head of housekeeping recruitment in the royal household, they must find and dispose of the dead fly she placed in the room. Waterman revealed on the Channel 5 documentary, Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas:
The difference between housekeeper in a five-star hotel and in a royal palace would be attention to detail.
Waterman continued to explain her trick, stating that she will hide a dead fly in plain sight to see the reaction of her potential housekeepers:
One of the tests I like to do, to see if a candidate has potential eye for detail, is to place a dead fly, either in the fireplace or on the carpet. Once the dead fly is placed, I then bring the candidate into the room.
The head housekeeper then leads the candidate around the room, only to ‘Bring them to the fireplace, maybe highlighting that we've got a beautiful fireplace.’ Waterman detailed that at that point she would expect the interviewee to see the fly and pick it up:
It's a great test, maybe out of 10 people half the candidates will notice the fly. One out of 10 will actually bend down and pick it up, that's the special housekeeper.
Strict rule Kate Middleton has for all staff
It turns out that the Queen isn’t the only one who is cautious about who she hires. The Kensington family may have a much smaller staff than the Buckingham Palace, but they do rely very heavily on their team for the smooth running of their day to day lives.
Working for the royal family is a dream come true for many so it’s no surprise that the Kensingtons state that all employees must follow one rule. A job advertisement from October last year, looking for a housekeeper at the Kensington Palace stated that all applicants must be an expert in ‘maintaining confidentiality and exercising discretion.’
Looks like the Queen’s head housekeeper might have passed on her sneaky interview ideas to the Kensingtons!